Well it’s been a real trip.
It seems crazy that I arrived in Zanzibar just 6 days ago. I feel as though I have been here for at least a month as there are so many things to see, learn and experience.
My flight was probably the hardest part. After traveling for over 2 days I arrived in Zanzibar to have about 30 mins to clean up and rest before I was on a walking tour to orient myself to the city, the hospital and what life in Zanzibar is like. Right off the bat I realized how the two worlds of Zanzibar co-exist but rarely intertwine. There are a ridiculous amount of poor people here and they are often selling food and goods to get by and will try to sell you anything if they think you will take it.
Then there are the tourists……people from all over Europe and some parts of Eastern Asia. It feels so odd to be able to communicate so easily with the tourists yet they almost want to pretend that this is their own experience without other foreigners present. The locals are much more friendly (maybe a bit too friendly at times) and are always willing to talk your ear off and sell you something while you wait.
Already I have begun to speak Swahili with some success :-) Honestly I default to Italian more often than I would like to admit but they are very patient and often speak some English so we can figure out what the other is saying.
So the clinic….
Honestly it inspires me. Such a tiny place within the much larger hospital and yet it is full everyday it is open. They have women come in on Mondays and Wednesdays and Men come in Tuesdays and Thursdays. This just seems to make sense both because this is primarily a Muslim-based culture. It also helps you stay in a pretty good groove in terms of treating (more men have impotence, back pain and numbness while the women have more headaches, post-birth issues and fatigue.) I am struck with the number of facial paralysis cases I have been treating. I never thought that I would see so many, at least 5 a day out of about 25 patients, both men and women. The patients are very helpful as I fumble with my Swahili. They even go so far as to correct me while I am asking exactly where their pain is. It feels really good and honestly I enjoy myself the most when I am treating them. I already have a few regulars who say they will come to see me again next week. Often the patients come both days in a week so I already feel as though I remember their complaints (not so easy with their names.)
And the island…..
is truly beautiful. I am in awe that this place exists. the ocean is such an amazing blue-green and there are all kinds of sea life, on the shores as well as jumping through the waves. I have yet to do a boat tour but it is on my list. there are so many opportunities to see other islands and sea life like coral reefs and dolphins. The hardest part is finding a group to do these with as single tours are crazy expensive.
The most difficult things…..
So when I arrived the apartment that I was suppose to live in didn’t have working water. My first place had water but also have a few other things: cockroach, spiders (big!), ants, geckos, tons of mosquitos and my favorite, a little baby snake. It was definitely an experience but yesterday I was able to move into my permanent location which doesn’t have those other things :-)
Every night for about an hour the lights go out so I always carry my headlamp just in case I am in the middle of walking and suddenly everything goes dark.
I kinda like it…..it’s a very simple life. I can’t even get to the internet as much as I would like which is fine for awhile. Only now is it starting to get cumbersome as I am trying to follow upon things like my Oregon Medical Board materials and things like this. All in all it is a great lesson in patience.
I wish I had a few photos to share!!!
I left my camera cable at home and I can only upload when I find a strong enough Wi-fi spot. I will be sure to upload a few as soon as I can.
That’s all for now….I hope to get back to posting everyweek from now on. Thanks for reading!! Babi :-) (goodbye)